National Policy Negotiation Session Update
May 17 to 19, 2016
FDC Seattle, WA
|Robert C. Swanson, Chairman
|Cherryl Litsey, Chairman
|Roderick Ashford, CTOS, FCI Terminal Island
|Tamara Lyn, Central Office
|Yerlonda Pittman, Senior Officer, FPC Bryan
|Mike Nichols, Grand Prairie, Tx
|Brenda Saunders, Psychology, FCC Petersburg
|June Bencebi, Case Manager
Reviewed definitions and a small portion of policy was agreed upon. The summary was not signed off on at the end of JPC due to long discussion on seniority. Due to this we will have to review for accuracy next meeting and sign.
Union quoted the master agreement Article 18 and how assignments must be based on seniority. For the fourth straight meeting we have been stuck on this issue. The Union’s stance is and will remain, in accordance with the CBA, staff will bid on work assignments which can be listed, bid on by seniority, bargaining staff can select their preference, or the supervisor can group the contracts allowing staff to bid on the section of contracts (i.e. Section A with 10 contracts, Section B with 10 contracts, etc.) by seniority. Staff can submit a memo to trade contracts with other staff and memo will be reviewed by supervisors. Union understands managements concerns about being fair and equitable in contract assignments (i.e. all caseloads be equal in numbers to not overwork certain staff).
The Agency submitted an emailed proposal to the Union regarding assigning contracts to bargaining staff. The Agency requested they assign based on experience, complexity and geographic location. The Agency was not able to demonstrate to the Union how seniority would be considered. They also could not demonstrate any good reason why it could not be a factor. Basically, Management want to have the ability to assign contracts in locations at their will. They stated seniority is a factor but not the factor in determining assignments.
The Union submitted a counter proposal to the Agency regarding seniority to ensure all staff are given the opportunity to pick their contracts and workloads by seniority. Seniority being the employees EOD and not time in their current position as defined in Article 19. The Agency said they could not and would not be able to agree to this language. The Agency advised this would not be something they would even consider. The Agency explained they have the right to assign work and that is what they do when they assign certain contracts to certain staff based on their experience, location of contract, ability to travel and other factors. Union went back to master agreement quoting Article 18. Management stated they do consider seniority and gave the following example:
Recently they had to staff two vacant positions. The two new staff members were able to choose their contracts based on their seniority. The currently employed staff in that office were not given the option to choose these vacant contracts by seniority because they already had assigned contracts. All other assignments are based on which staff member would be best suited for each contract.
Currently caseloads and contracts are assigned to staff based on the staff members experience and time in the CTOS job, the complexity of the contract (new contact, old contract), contractors need for training, location, ability to travel, and other extenuating circumstances. None of these examples proved to the Union seniority was considered when assigning contracts.
The Agency advised they would like to meet in the middle but will not give up their rights to assign work to staff and if they assign work by seniority this will give up their right to assign certain contracts to certain staff members. The Union explained they were not asking for the Agency to give up their right to assign and they can assign the contracts in groups, single contracts or any other way that works for them but must allow staff to pick their assignments by seniority. The Agency could not provide the Union with any good reason why seniority could not be priority for assigning contracts and caseloads. The Union quoted, “Roster committee will consider preference requests in order of seniority and will make reasonable efforts to grant such request. Reasonable efforts means that Management will not arbitrarily deny such requests.” The Union reminded Management of the Status Quo agreement from the first meeting is still in effect.
Further discussion on seniority will take place during the JPC in July in DC.